Winter Care: Spring Flowering Bulbs

Bulbs are the epitome of nature’s talent for packaging, containing within themselves all the essentials they need to grow to provide gorgeous blooms year after year if well cared for. Your spring bulbs may be snug underground awaiting the warm weather of Spring but they need to be cared for until then. Bulbs are designed by nature to withstand cold winter temperatures. Indeed they rely on winter’s cold to trigger the biochemical process necessary to bring the bulb to flower in spring, but to help you get the best height, colour and performance out of your spring bulbs, here are some must-know tips for caring for your spring bulbs after they are planted.

General Tips

  • During a warm winter spell, the bulb leaves may start to sprout but do not worry as the foliage and flower bulbs can withstand freezing temperatures without damage. Only when brittle stems are broken, or the weather changes are too abrupt will be when the flowers suffer.
  • If you wish to feed your spring bulbs, feed them at planting time or just as they begin to emerge in the spring.
  • In colder areas, apply a nice layer of mulch over the bulb bed once the ground temperatures have dropped.

Daffodils/Narcissi

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  • For sprouting Daffodils, water sparingly as Daffodils do not require much care but some watering will help establishing roots.
  • Potted Daffodils require regular watering as the soil tends to dry out quicker.
  • If there is no snow cover, the bulbs will also need water throughout the winter.
  • Apply a low-nitrogen, high-potash (potassium) fertilizer after flowering if bulbs are not performing as desired.

Crocus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apply fertilizer after bulbs flower if your spring is long and temperate; bulbs will have a chance to use the extra nutrients to produce bigger carbohydrate stores.
  • In late February, remove mulches from snowdrops and crocuses so the shoots can come through.
  • In February and March, keep plastic milk jugs or other coverings on hand to protect the flowers of crocuses and other early bloomers against the return of severe weather.
  • Do not let the soil dry out. If the ground is fairly dry in the spring, make sure to water sparingly.

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  • Water during the autumn/ winter with a water-soluble fertilizer to nourish the bulbs as they develop new roots and top growth. Your bulbs will survive without fertilizer, but providing extra nutrients encourages more flowers, larger blossoms and longer life for your bulbs.

Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • After the tulips bulbs are planted, you need to water them thoroughly and then cover the area with a mulch of pine bark or shredded leaves to protect them.
  • You can build up their strength further by giving them a liquid feed every 10 to 14 days while they’re still in leaf.

Flower Aftercare

  • After your spring bulbs have bloomed, remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as Tulips or Daffodils, as soon as they fade.
  • When the season’s blooms are past, your snowdrops need to store energy for next year’s show. Allow the leaves to photosynthesize (process sunlight to produce food) until they yellow and wither, before removing the spent foliage. Trimming still-green foliage will reduce plants’ ability to nourish next year’s flowers, resulting in fewer, smaller flowers.
  • Six weeks after blooming is when it will be safe to mow the green leaves of any naturalized crocus and snowdrops on your lawn.

Have you completed your gardening jobs for January?

Click HERE to check out our garden job list.

Good luck with your flowers this spring!

Bonfire Night in the Garden

It’s that time of the year again, Bonfire Night! As tradition on November 5th, we light sparklers, fireworks, bonfires and eat candy apples and treacle toffee for the anniversary of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, known as the Gunpowder Plot.
Since it’s a common fact that the vast majority of firework bursts and effects are named after flowers/plants/trees. There are for example Chrysanthemum, dahlia, willow, palm and peony bursts. In fact, several firework arrangements are known as bouquets. So, if you don’t want to head out to the local park to see the community fireworks display, you can lay out in your garden and just look at nature’s version. The colors are just as spectacular, except it’s a lot quieter.

10 Explosive Blooms to Light Up Your Night

Allium Fireworks

Could these Alliums have a more apt name? This stunning firework collection consists of Pulchellum (reddish violet), Pulchellum Album (white) and Flavum (yellow). These beautiful plants flower in Summer for an explosion of colour in any garden display.

Agapanthus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agapanthus, fondly known as the African Lily, are bold hardy perennial plants which are superb for containers or borders. The plants have dark green foliage and will produce vibrant white or blue flowers throughout the summer time.

Allium Schubertii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A real firecracker, the Allium Schubertii. Splayed tendrils in pinky-lilac burst from a compact cluster of star shaped flowers. The flowers are produced at the end of May to early June. These make excellent cut flowers and can be dried and used indoors for a unique Winter display.

Asters Alpinus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cheerful ornamental flowers are daisy-shaped with bright yellow centers surrounded by petals in a burst of colours from pinks, blues, violets and creamy whites. The leaves are narrow and dark green. The heavy cluster of flowers will produce an ever increasing mass of colour every year from August to well into October.

Monarda Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The striking Monarda plant comes in a great mixture of colours. They are also know as the Bee Balm Plant. Their spikey blooms resemble the loud, explosive bangs of fireworks, and will flower from June to September, with aromatic leaves. They are a striking and useful addition to the garden, thriving in shade or semi-shade where other perennials struggle.

Euphorbia Bonfire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most amazing Euphorbia ever with foliage that turns from green/purple to burgundy in summer, then again changes to a bright red in late summer. In late spring it will produce large yellow flowers for many weeks. The fiery colours and bursting foliage would earn a warm welcome to any garden.

Pieris Forest Flame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This evergreen shrub produces brilliant flamed red young shoots in spring and white ‘Lily of the Valley’ flowers in late spring. The foliage mirrors the flowers, bright red in the spring, maturing to pink and cream and finally green. Holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form, and good resistance to pests and diseases.

Salix caprea pendula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lovely branches of the Salix caprea, or pussy or goat willow as its commonly known, can provide you garden with all year round interest. Stiff, arching brightly coloured shoots form a mound or ‘mophead’ shape in winter. In spring come long silver fuzzy catkins that open to soft silky flowers with yellow anthers, before the gracefully hanging lush foliage appears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stunning red pincushion flowers on greenish white filaments surrounded by a rosette of red bracts flushed deep purple at the tips. Strikingly beautiful and extremely photogenic, these are a great blast of colour in any garden bed or border, as well as a must have addition to any summer bouquet.

Aquilegia Barlow Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Striking new double Aquilegia varieties. These showy blooms are perpetual flowering from May to July and look great planted en-masse in a border, the dainty Dahlia-like blooms nodding above lacy fern like foliage. Remove the stems when the flowering time is over and the foliage will remain attractive for a spectacular display right through till the winter.

Bonfire Night Garden Tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety

  • Consider wind direction and the way the smoke will drift once lit.
  • Build it on open ground away from buildings and other flammable items.
  • Keep windows shut so that the smoke does not drift into your home.
  • Have a hose pipe or water supply ready should it get out of control to dampen it down or extinguish the flames.
  • Keep the bonfire small.
  • If you have been building your bonfire for sometime, check that animals have not taken shelter under it before lighting.
  • Use the wood ashes for fertiliser on the garden flower beds.

Tips

  • Bonfire Material Waste Disposal

These seasons celebrations are the perfect time to dispose of garden waste lying around. Bonfires make the perfect disposal unit for dry, woody material infected by disease like canker and fire blight. Be sure to conduct when weather is calm for smoke safety.

  • Garden Protection

Be sure to prepare all bonfires away from beneath overhanging trees as the hot air is damaging to venerable buds and tree leaves and will cause large dead areas in the following year.

Have a great bonfire night!

How To Plant: Iris Reticulata Pixie

If you’re looking for an easy to grow bulb that will bring some vibrancy to your garden in early spring, you can’t go wrong with Iris Reticulata.

 

Of all our spring flowering Iris, Iris Reticulata Pixie is a particularly popular variety for a number of reasons. This beautiful Iris Reticulata flowers early in spring when little else in the garden is in flower, bringing vibrant violet-blue hues to your borders and patio pots. Each petal is delicately marked with golden yellow and white flecks. These exquisite flowers are sure to brighten up the garden in February and March.
You can plant these beautiful Iris in the front of your border, or in pots for the patio. Jeff talks us through both options in the below video so you can get the most out of your bulbs.
Bulbs are to be planted 8cm deep and around 10-12cm apart, in well drained soil. It is often best to try to position then with plenty of access to sun. For best results, plant in September through to November.

 

Take some care to prevent slugs and snails from attacking the Iris once planted, Jeff uses fine alpine grit to get the job done!
Most Iris can naturalise well if left undisturbed or alternatively bulbs can be lifted and separated in autumn. After flowering feed with a high potash fertilizer to encourage large bulbs to form.

October Plant of the Month: Heuchera

Heuchera are famed for their superb range of spectacular foliage and attractive late spring/summer flowers. Uusually bought for their amazing coloured and veined foliage, the vibrancy of leaf colour alone makes these semi-evergreen perennials a must have.

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When many plants in the garden are fading in October, the beautifully coloured and marked foliage of Heucheras really stand out and often become more vibrant.

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We have a huge range of Heuchera and Heucherella available, our largest selection yet. These beautiful, colourful perennials will brighten up your garden with a vibrant range of colours and distinctive foliage. Try growing in pots on the patio or at the front of any border (even in shaded locations).

POTM Planting

Planting and Care

Choose an area of partial shade for best results, but Heuchera are also versatile enough to cope in the full shade of tricky, hard to fill spots in the garden as well as full sun. They like nutrient rich, well-drained and slightly acidic soil, so be sure to give the space a bit of preparation. Heuchera prefer a site with good drainage so be sure not to over-water and stick to damp soil.

Given their low-growing, compact habit Heuchera are perfect for the front of a border but they will also grow well in pots and look stylish decorating the patio in containers.

Choice Varieties

Ideal for growing in border, rockeries or in patio containers, try mixing Heuchera together for a rainbow colour effect. The variation and range of colours available is unmatched by any other dwarf evergreen perennial. We have sourced the best varieties to offer, perfect for adding real style to your garden.
black jam
Blackberry Jam produce rich purple and maroon foliage, with deep veins. Try growing in pots on the patio or at the front of any border (even in shaded locations). Height 30-40cm.
heuch mix
Our luxury mixture is the perfect choice if you want to get started with Heuchera. A spectacular mixture of 10+ premium varieties, these plants are sure to brighten any border or patio container. When many plants begin to fade, this mixture will bring you remarkable colour all year round. Height 30-40cm.
You can also shop our full range of Heuchera online here.

 

Plug Plants in Trays – Which size should you choose?

A selection of our top quality bedding and basket plants are available in a choice of up to three different plug sizes. We’ve compiled this handy guide to help you choose which one is best for you.

Rapid Plugs

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These are the smallest plugs we offer and the earliest to be delivered. Exceptional value, we supply these in trays of 120, each robust 4-7cm plug has strong roots.

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Care

All our rapid plugs are delivered from March/early April.

They require potting on in a light humid atmosphere at a temperature above 15C while they establish, and can be planted out into their final location once rick of frost has passed, these plugs are supplied at a height of 4-7cm and plug diameter of 1.7cm.

Click on the link below to watch our helpful how to video tutorial with our garden expert Jeff Turner on planting Petunia Frenzy supplied as Rapid Plugs.

Maxi Plug Plant Trays

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These incredibly popular plug high quality plants are grown in Maxi Trays of either 33 or 66 plants, each plant measuring from 6 to 8cm in length, depending on the variety, the plug itself is 3.7cm in height as illustrated.

Our specially designed blister packs are delivered in a specially designed sleeve for added protection to get them to you nursery fresh.

 

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Care

Plant straight away upon arrival into pots or containers. Pot up for a number of weeks (minimum of two-three) and then plant out into final position once the roots have become established. Water regularly and make sure soil does not become too dry. Perfect for pots, containers, borders or window displays. Only plant outside when all risk of frost has passed.

Click to watch our helpful how to video tutorial with our garden expert Jeff Turner on planting Dianthus barbatus / Sweet William supplied as Maxi Plugs.

Garden Ready Plant Trays

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This year we are introducing a new plug plant option to our budding range, the garden ready plug.

These premium plants are out easiest to grow, and are supplied in trays of 30 at a height of up to 15cm. Each plug plan measures 5cm in diameter. These are delivered individually and later than our Rapid or Maxi Plugs – from mid-May.

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Care

They are ready to be planted straight into their final location on arrival. This makes them the best choice for novice gardeners as they don’t require the same time and effort as smaller plugs.

Jumbo Plug Plants

Many of our summer bedding and basket plants are supplied as jumbo plugs, please see in catalogue or in the copy of individual varieties on our website to check this. Where this is the case, you will receive our quality jumbo plugs which are between 7 and 11cm from base to tip, ready for planting straight into baskets, borders and pots.

Care

Please see individual varieties for extra planting tips, but we recommend you plant 3 or 4 in an average 30cm basket or pot and put outside from early May. If the weather is cool on arrival, pot on for 2/3 weeks before transplanting in to a basket outside.

How to Plant: Indoor Amaryllis

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

 

Amaryllis

 

 

Loved by beginners and experts alike because of their superb flowering potential with minimal effort required! Hippeastrum or Amaryllis bulbs are very easy to plant and will flower indoors during the winter months, producing spectacular showy flowers in a huge range of colours and shapes.

We have a huge range available, below are a few of our favourites, or you can browse our full range HERE.

Indoor flowering Amaryllis make excellent pot plants for indoors and are available in two different bulb sizes – the standard 26cm+ bulbs which will produce two stems per bulb, however for our giant 34cm+ Amaryllis bulb are the largest on the market and will produce three stems per flower bulb.

How to Plant – A Visual Guide

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Follow our simple step by step guide here or click on the link below to watch our garden expert Jeff Turner in our video tutorial on planting these winter flowering winter treats!

Aftercare

After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again.  Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.